A dean’s legacy: Dr. Ellen Paglinauan and the beginnings of UPFI

A photo of the former CMC dean hangs inside the office she used to call her own. (Photo by Xianne Arcangel)

by Beata Carolino

She was detail-oriented – it was the one word that was always found when asked about the late College of Mass Communication dean Ellen Paglinauan. Her colleagues knew her as someone who was strict yet kind; someone who was very organized, someone who was not very effervescent with her feelings, and someone who people learn a lot from.

Those, aside from her undeniable knowledge in the field of film. She became a part of various groups and organizations related to her chosen field, like the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino (URIAN), Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA), and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – Communication and Development.

The late dean served as an educator in the Film and Audio-visual Department since 1985 up until her retirement in 2004. She became the college’s dean from 2000 until 2003, after being the chairman of the said department for eleven straight years, and it was during her term that the UP Film Institute was established.

Dean Ellen also co-wrote and defended the college’s first master’s degree, MA Media Studies, as well as the Revitalized General Education Program (RGEP) courses Film 10 and Film 12.

Clearly, she loved the College of Mass Communication – but the field of communication was not where she actually began.

It may surprise many, but she finished AB Philippine Studies, cum laude, in 1959 in UP before taking up Ph Candidacy for Geography in the University of Michigan. It was only in 1981 when she took up Communication in Radio, TV, and Film – a field which she eventually settled into. She devoted most of her time to make the film academe in the country flourish.

Today, the UP Film Institute is known to be one of the best film schools in the world, being the only internationally-accredited film school in the country and a member of CILECT, the International Association of Film and TV schools.

Clearly, Dean Ellen Paglinauan loved film – but it was not only film she found interest in.

Former CMC dean Elena Pernia of the Communication Research Department recalls how the late dean Ellen had a love for literature. She mentioned that Dean Ellen had a vast collection of books which she highlights and takes down notes with.

Dean Ellen was someone who had perhaps a university’s worth of knowledge and used that knowledge in her daily routine, dropping names of filmmakers and writers during usual conversations.

Her colleagues also noted that Dean Ellen had quite the knack for an adventure, citing instances where they would go out far for lunch in different places.

“It was kind of expensive on our pocketbooks but those are the things that are priceless,” Dr. Pernia shared.

She also shared that during their trips, Dean Ellen would find some time to educate her colleagues about film.

In fact, Dean Ellen did not share her knowledge to UP students alone. She also served as a professorial lecturer in the University of Santo Tomas’ graduate school for four years.

Clearly, Dean Ellen loved to share her knowledge – but it was not just film she taught people about.

Nanette Cinco of the CMC administration recalled the former dean as her “first boss” in the college, and recalled that she was someone who made her subordinates grow.

“Matututo ka talaga sa kanya, gagaling ka,” she said, adding that Dean Ellen was one of the “best mentors” that she has ever met.

Clearly, someone as remarkable as Dean Ellen Paglinauan of the College of Mass Communication is not someone who will live by a two-dimensional tarpaulin with her achievements and contributions for the college, or by a smiling photograph framed and hanged in the administration office. She is a legacy to be remembered, as we sit in the chill of the UPFI or herald and praise our students of film-making, only thinking how she would have guided us all, if only she were still here with us today.

Postscript: Dean Ellen Paglinauan passed away on January 13, 2013 at the National Kidney Transplant Institute.

Author: TNP

The Official Student Publication of the UP College of Mass Communication.